39. CO-OPTIONS TO SYNOD STANDING COMMITTEES (Synod of NSW / ACT)

That the Assembly

authorise the Assembly Standing Committee on the advice of the Legal Reference Committee to amend Regulation3.7.4.1 (a) (iv) to read:

SYNOD STANDING COMMITTEE (See Para 36, Constitution)

3.7.4.1 Membership
(a) The membership of the Synod Standing Committee shall consist of:
(iv) no more than two persons 10% of its membership or five persons, whichever is the lesser, co-opted by the Standing Committee.

Rationale:

The Constitution of the Church provides for the appointment of a Standing Committee for Synods and the Assembly vide Clauses 36 and 47 (below).

STANDING COMMITTEE 36. The Synod shall appoint from among its members a Standing Committee which shall be empowered to act on behalf of the Synod between meetings of the Synod in respect of any of the responsibilities of the Synod except such as the Synod may determine. The Standing Committee may co-opt additional members 17 of the Synod to act on the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee shall consist of no fewer lay members than ministerial members.

STANDING COMMITTEE 47. Each Assembly shall appoint from among its members a Standing Committee which shall be empowered to act on behalf of the Assembly between meetings of the Assembly in respect of any of the responsibilities of the Assembly except such as the Assembly may determine. The Standing Committee may co-opt additional members of the Assembly to act on the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee shall consist of no fewer lay members than ministerial members.
The structure of each Standing Committee is then proscribed in the Regulations – extracts of which are shown below

SYNOD STANDING COMMITTEE (See Para 36, Constitution)

3.7.4.1 Membership
(a) The membership of the Synod Standing Committee shall consist of:
(i) the Moderator, the ex-Moderator, the Moderator Elect and the Secretary of the Synod as ex-officio members;
(ii) such other ex-officio members as the Synod may determine;
(iii) other members of the Synod elected by it to serve until the next ordinary meeting of the Synod;
(iv) no more than two persons co-opted by the Standing Committee.
Only members of the Synod are eligible for membership of the Standing Committee.

ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE (See Para 47, Constitution)

3.7.5.1 Membership
(a) The Assembly Standing Committee shall consist of
(i) the President, President-elect, ex-President and General Secretary of the Assembly;
(ii) the Chairperson and the National Administrator of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress;
(iii) 18 members of the Assembly elected by the Assembly;
(iv) no more than four persons co-opted by the Standing Committee.
Only members of the Assembly are eligible for membership of the Standing Committee

The structure of each Standing Committee is largely along the same lines but with the notable exception that up to four (4) co-options are permitted for the Assembly Standing Committee but only two (2) for the Standing Committee of each Synod.

In these challenging and fast changing times, the responsibilities of a Synod Standing Committee are becoming more demanding and increasingly there is a need to ensure that within the membership of the Standing Committee there are those with particular gifts, graces and experiences. At times the desirable mix of such factors is not always reflected via the election process – this has been the experience of the Synod of NSW and ACT.

Further, while a Standing Committee has the power to co-opt members the limitations of Regulation 3.7.4.1 (a) (iv) in limiting the number of co-options to only two persons has proved to be an impediment.

Noting that
a. the number of permitted co-options to the Assembly Standing Committee is double that permitted for Synods; and
b. the size of the Standing Committee varies from Synod to Synod
it is proposed that Regulation 3.7.4.1 (a) (iv) be varied to permit the co-option of up to 10% of the specified membership or up to 5 persons – whichever is the lesser.

By this means, Synods would be afforded additional flexibility in the formation of their Standing Committee while still reflecting and respecting the desirability that the majority of Standing Committee members be elected to that role.